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Money

Buffalo group boosts up the unemployed

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Horia Varlan
/
via Flickr
What color is your parachute? A Buffalo group is helping the unemployed figure that out - and find a new place in the economy.

Emma Sapong at the Buffalo News has a profile of the Parachute Group, which helps the unemployed find work, network, and gain confidence after a job loss:

In a region where the unemployment rate for April was 7.6 percent -- the third-highest for any April since 1992 -- the Parachute Group's services are in demand. "When people lose their jobs, they are shellshocked," said Katy Shafer, facilitator of the meetings and co-founder the group. "They usually don't know where to go and where to turn. They have all these questions. They can come here and tell their stories, find answers and learn the best practices to aid them in finding new work."

At the Democrat and Chronicle Matt Daneman has a look at productivity data - which rose throughout the recession as business owners held off on investing in new machines and hires.  Productivity is starting to decline according to the U.S. Labor Department - but that's not all bad news:

Also, labor costs rose as companies boosted employment to meet growing demand for their goods and services. The increase in labor costs was modest, just 0.7 percent at an annual rate, so economists didn't see a threat of inflation in the numbers. Economists believe that companies will keep finding ways to be more efficient, but that the first-quarter slowdown in productivity will persist throughout 2011.

At the New York Times' Economix blog, economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson has a post advocating the benefits of investing in transportation to "create jobs and strengthen the nation's competitiveness:"

In a time of budget austerity, the allocation of scarce federal dollars for infrastructure must be guided by cost-benefit analysis — rather than by earmarks and formula-based grants, as is currently the case. That’s why the Obama administration is calling for the use of performance criteria and “race to the top” competition among state and local governments to allocate federal spending among competing projects.

Bankruptcy filings were down 31 percent in May in Rochester, reports Will Astor at the Rochester Business Journal.

And finally, this isn't really about the economy - unless a machines finally replacing humans completely is the most telling economic indicator of all.  The Webby Awards have named IBM's Watson, the Jeopardy! playing supercomputer, the "person" of the year.

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